Health Advice



Maintain good dental care -- at home and in the dentist's office

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In the movie musical "Little Shop of Horrors" Steve Martin plays a dentist who revels in horrifying his patients. Fortunately, going to the dentist while COVID-19 is still circulating doesn't have to be that scary. There are guidelines designed to protect you -- and the dentist/staff -- from exposure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Dental Association and most state dental associations urge dentists and hygienists to wear N95 masks and suggest head-to-toe covering be replaced after each patient. HEPA air purifiers, what are called far-ultraviolet lamps and well-directed heating and cooling systems also minimize the risk of transmission. So before you go, know that ...

-- Excellent at-home dental hygiene is essential. Your best bet: brush and floss twice a day. You can postpone a cleaning if you're super-conscientious about daily care.

-- The CDC recommends dental practices prioritize critical dental services. If you need emergency dental work for an extraction or root canal, don't wait! Delay can cause you more pain, require more time spent in the dentist's chair and add up to larger dental bills.

-- When you call the dentist office, ask for a rundown of their sanitation measures. For example, the CDC says, "To clean and disinfect the dental operatory after a patient without suspected or confirmed COVID-19, wait 15 minutes after completion of clinical care and exit of each patient to begin to clean and disinfect room surfaces." That lets airborne particles settle, so they can be removed. Make sure they're doing that!

-- Don't like what you hear? Call another dentist.



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c)2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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